Salary of a TV Meteorologist

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TV meteorologists explain weather patterns on the air.
TV meteorologists explain weather patterns on the air. (Image: SW Productions/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

People who love performing and being on the air as well as natural sciences, should consider a career as a TV meteorologist. TV meteorologists do the work of normal meteorologists — researching, tracking and predicting the weather — then go on the air and report their findings to the viewing public. The salary will vary depending on the time slots a TV meteorologist is working and the market where the TV station is located.

Three meteorologists

Most TV stations employ three meteorologists. The chief is the highest paid and appears on-air at night, in prime time, while the morning and noon meteorologist is paid the second-highest amount. In third is the weekend meteorologist. In a top 10 market, like New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, the chief meteorologist may make $500,000 or more per year, according to TropicalWeather.net. The morning and noon person may make $150,000 to $200,000 while the weekend meteorologist earns closer to $100,000 thousand.

Market Size

Not all TV stations are created equal. Stations are divided into "markets," which are used to measure their popularity. The more people watch your station, the bigger your market -— and the higher your salary. The United States is home to more than 200 markets, with the top 10 including major cities. Don't expect to start there — you generally start in a smaller market, where you make less, and then move onward and upward.

Popularity

When you work in television, popularity matters and it may affect your pay. A meteorologist who is popular in his market, be it based on local celebrity, reliability, good looks or other factors, is likely to earn more money than the market average. When a TV meteorologist becomes a household name, it earns the station recognizability, and this makes him a valuable addition to the team. Conversely, a lack of popularity may end your contract early.

Contracts

Like other on-air personalities, TV meteorologists have to sign contracts. The fine print in the contract affects the meteorologist's current and future salary. For example, a contract may or may not include salary increases before its expiration, moving expenses or even a clothing allowance — since the meteorologist is appearing on-air for his job, a clothing allowance ensures that he isn't paying out-of-pocket for what is essentially a work uniform.

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